The birth of a new baby is a joyous occasion, and the new family traditionally enjoys visits from family; gifts and cards from friends; and the joys of baby's tiny hands, precious smiles and gentle coos. Put the cards in a scrapbook to pore over in the years to come or make permanent prints of baby's hands and feet in clay or paint for two easy traditions you can start from day one. Take a posed shot of baby with her parents, then re-create the picture each year. Whether you follow your relatives' traditions or create your own, do something special that commemorates your baby's birth and grows with her over the years.
Start off your baby's first tradition by taking a loving picture of her on the day she's born. Purchase or make a special frame for displaying the picture until her first birthday, when you will replace it with a new picture of your now 1-year-old. Each year, replace the earlier photograph with the new birthday picture. Keep the old pictures and put them into a "Watch Me Grow" scrapbook or photo album that records your daughter's life. Alternatively, add each year's new picture, in a similar frame, to the original birth picture, arraying the framed shots on a wall or bookshelf.
Ask friends and family members to print or write out a favorite poem or Bible verse to celebrate the new baby's arrival. Collect all the contributions and arrange them in a scrapbook or photo album. Each year, encourage new friends to add their written greetings to the collection. Intersperse the poems and verses with pictures of the baby posed with some of the contributors, so he can later look at the book and know who cared so much about him and sent him such loving thoughts.
Start a holiday ornament collection for your child from the time she is born. On her first Christmas, select an ornament from Mom and Dad that is meaningful in some way. Ask the baby's grandparents to give her a special ornament each year as well. As she gets older, the ornaments might change to reflect her changing interests, color choices or hobbies. By the time she's ready to decorate her own Christmas tree, she'll have a one-of-a-kind collection of ornaments from people who love her that reflect her journey to adulthood. Or make reading a favorite Christmas story part of your new family's Christmas Eve tradition, and read the same story to her and any future siblings every year on Christmas Eve.
Read a favorite story or sing a familiar song to your baby during his first days at home. Record this on a cassette or CD. Each year on his birthday, record a new story or song, picking those that are his -- or your -- favorites at that time. Over time, you're creating a personal collection of memories for your son. As he gets older, he might even help you read the story or sing the song with you, which makes the recordings even more treasured. On a large piece of poster board or butcher paper, carefully place a footprint and a handprint of your baby in paint. Write the date and the baby's age beneath the prints. Repeat this each year to track your child's growth.
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